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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2210328
show don't tell contest entry
1079 words


The newscaster on the TV passed the camera off to the weatherman, "Those scattered showers I promised for today have totally missed us for today, but our luck won't hold. If you have any plans for the out of doors I would get them in this afternoon." Smiling, Ruby hummed a tune. She fetched her picnic basket and the materials for sandwiches. "Now to Stu for our local sports report."

"On to sports, North Highschool lost its bid for state champion to out of the way Bennett Central. Poor kids, The quarterback and two of the running backs are set to graduate next spring and this was their last chance at a championship. Back to you Cliff!" Ruby flicked off the television and began preparing in earnest.

Ruby stacked salami, tomato, lettuce, pickles, and mayo on white bread. Her sandwiches were shades of gray and beige. She wrapped them in silver foil. With a permanent marker she labeled the sandwiches, with the contents and the date. She threw a blue bag of cool ranch Doritos and a gray bag of spicy nacho Doritos in her basket. Her fruit punch Gatorade rounded out the meal with its shade of gray. She closed the basket and looped her arm through the handles.

Her car was parked in the garage, and Ruby tucked the picnic basket in the back seat next to her favorite gray and white gingham blanket. She sat in the driver's seat and adjusted it and her mirror. Her son had used the sporty little car last and he was a full foot taller than her. She toggled the garage door opener, then she pulled out onto the street. The door closed behind her and Ruby turned on her radio. Ahead she waited for the light to drop from the top gray to the bottom gray. Then she turned left towards the forested park with its rainbow shades of grey. She parked and carried her blanket and her basket along the path to the gorgeous lily pond at its end. She spread the blanket out and loved the way her blanket matched the color of the grass perfectly.

Ruby had barely settled in when three punks came tearing through on their lowrider bikes. They all wore the same shade of gray. Two had bandanas over their noses and mouths. "Move you stupid SOB! We're coming through here!" One of the boys yelled on approach.

Indignant, Ruby answered back, "This is a public park and there is more than enough room for you reprobates to ride around me!"

"Dude, she just called us 'reprobates.' I don't know what the heck that means but I don't think I like it much!" The tallest of the three growled to his companions. He parked his bike and walked up to Ruby's little picnic. "We reprobates don't think you paid the tax to have your lunch on our turf!"

"This is a PUBLIC park. I don't owe you anything! What do you little boys think you can do to me?" Ruby snarled hopping up from her blanket to face them down. She huffed out a breath and stomped her foot ineffectively. She knew at five foot nothing she was hardly threatening.

"Ooh, look at the tough old lady!" The third brat, the one without his face covered growled back. He hopped from his bike and let it fall. Then he stepped up toe to toe with Ruby, he was nine inches taller. He put his index finger out and tapped her on the chest. "Lady, this is an out of the way spot. It could be hours before anybody finds you!"

Ruby did her best not to blanch. Her color must have drained just a bit at his statement because he laughed cruely at her. Ruby thought quickly. "Or I could just use my pepper spray!" Ruby threatened pulling an aerosol container of breath spray from her pocket. She flashed it at him and he backed away.

The three punks silently looked at each other for a moment, "Naw, you ain't worth getting dirty over!" The three of them hopped back on their bikes and rode circles around Ruby and her blanket. Then they rolled right over her blanket and kicked over her basket, before riding away laughing and shoving at one another.

Ruby clucked in frustration at their backs. She sat down and began cleaning up the mess they had made. She was just finishing picking up her food when another group of boys wearing gray came running up. "Hey, lady! Have you seen three jerks wearing green go through here?" These boys seemed a shade more polite. She had hoped they had nothing to do with the other boys but the leader's question quashed that hope.

Ruby shook her head no, "There were a few boys wearing almost the same shade of clothes as you four, they went that way!" Ruby pointed.

"Dude! It must be Mario, Ted and Philo. They probably spotted the Verds and took after them. I just hope they don't go too far into Verd territory before we get there to back them up!" another of the boys stated. The four of them raced off after the first group.

Ruby settled in to eat. Then it occured to her that she might have just encountered boys from two different gangs. She did sometimes confuse red and green after all. It really wasn't a good thing if the second batch of boys, the polite ones, were heading into Verd territory without backup, but what could she do? Call the police and tell them that two gangs of boys were about to "rumble." "Dear god," Ruby thought to herself. she had turned into an "old lady!" Who said things like "rumble" anymore.

That went far beyond "cool" not being cool anymore. She had reached the age where she was nearly two generations removed from the common slang. What was worse was that she was just "in" enough to know how uncool she was. Ruby settled back down and picked up her sandwich. She bit into it and stared at the pond. Was she responsible for a massacre? Were those poor boys wandering into a dangerous situation? Ruby found herself unable to relax and enjoy her picnic. She rewrapped her food and stowed it in her basket. Then she shook out and folded her blanket. Totally failing at her goal, Ruby returned to her car upset by a perfect afternoon interrupted.
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